What should I do #12: Nation

I would like to take a moment of your time to talk to you about a book.

(The US cover for the book. It looks cooler in other places.)

I’ve been a fan of Terry Pratchett’s for years. He’s a truly magnificent writer. One of the best. This cannot be argued.

Still, I have to admit that I picked up this book with more than a little hesitation.

The problem was that I knew this book wasn’t going to be set in Discworld, so I was nervous. Also, I was a little disappointed, because I love Discworld. It’s like a place that I get to visit on vacation once or twice a year. I look forward to those visits, and because of that, I was ready to be let down by this non-Discworld story.

I shouldn’t have worried. This is quite possibly Pratchett’s best book yet. Reading it, I laughed aloud in public. Finishing it, I cried.

This is probably the best book that I’ve read in years. Maybe the best book I’ve read in forever. I’ve already ordered a half-dozen copies so I can give them away as gifts.

Buy it. Read it. Love it. This book is like a kiss from god.


This entry was posted in recommendationsBy Pat34 Responses


  1. marky
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Buy it. Read it. Love it. This book is like a kiss from god.———————————–Why isn’t that on the back of the book? Mr Pratchett is a true writing legend. Rincewind is my all time favourite bumbling wizard. I am so glad you think his new book is one of his best. I look forward to reading it. Happy Halloween, Pat.

  2. paula b
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Ordered this from the library a while ago and have just picked it up today!! what a coincidence. Terry Pratchett never fails to cheer me up, he’s like a roaring fire, hot chocolate and buttered toast all in one kind of writer. :)And you are right..the british cover is a lot cooler.take care, x

  3. merus
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    What is with American covers? The only ones I’ve seen that I’ve preferred to the British ones has been the Harry Potter books, and even then the British ‘adult’ covers are still very attractive.I’ve grown sick of Discworld – the most recent one I liked was Going Postal – so I was very excited about Pratchett doing a stand-alone story with the skills he’s picked up since his last foray outside the Discworld. Nation didn’t disappoint – it’s a truly great book.

  4. Cusick
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    Pat,I read a couple Discworld books many moons ago but then didn’t for many years. Now I’d like to but I’m intimidated by the sheer size of the corpus. Are they written in any sort of order? I can’t figure it out where to start. What do you recommend?Patiently waiting for Book #2.

  5. Karyn
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

    Off to find this book. I love your recommendations…I just finished Joe Abercrombie’s trilogy (love!) and Acacia (awesome!)Thanks again!

  6. Taur' Ohtar Sereg Wethrin
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

    Aw man, I havn’t even had time to finish the last authors you recomeneded yet…haha. I’m enjoying abercrombie though. Yes it is dark…disturbingly dark…but I’m hoping the ending will be at least somewhat redimptive…haha. And his fight scenes are just plain BEASTLY.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    Read it. I fully agree.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    Ha, if you’re expecting a happy ending to the First Law trilogy, think again…

  9. Jana
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    wow. a kiss from God. i’m with marky, they should just put that on the back of the book. who wouldn’t read it?

  10. Snall Trippin
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    Well…I just spent like $160 on books in the last two weeks…we shall see.

  11. Fae
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    Small Gods has been my favorite for a while. But this one looks very promising.Always interesting to hear people who know how to write praising other people who know how to write.

  12. caranorn
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    Wow, I’m actually stunned. I’ve been gobbling up Terry Pratchett’s books for years. But Nation was the first one I was disappointed with, it even has some logic flaws which is quite unusual for Pratchett. On the other hand I do understand why this book was less satisfying to me, considering his illness I fear this might very well be the last book he wrote and it seems to have been rushed out for commercial reasons.Though the good critics here make me wonder…

  13. Sailor Matt
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip, Pat. I’m on it like a sailor on rum.Happy Halloween, Folks!

  14. Alexis
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    I have just finished Mistborn and Well of Ascension. I am putting off starting Hero of Ages until some work deadlines have past because otherwise I do not trust myself to make them. All three Abercrombie books are on my shelf.So, here’s to Pat, the only crack dealer I am ok with buying from…

  15. The Art of Kim Kincaid
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    ‘Crivens! I have 50 more pages to go to the end of Nation. I’ve been rewarding myself each night with a chapter. Wee Free Men is still one of my all-time favorite YA books. Good to see your recommendation.

  16. Alicia
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    You’re right. Absolutely. I managed to find a seller who wasn’t above letting his copies go early, so I got to read it a week earlier than I’d anticipated. I went into it a bit disappointed (I was expecting a DW book) but came out more in love with his writing than ever. I also cried :)The blurb on the back is useless though. -A-

  17. Oliver
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Ordered and should have it by Wednesday. I have a shelf full of Discworld books that I’ve been meaning to read. Maybe I’ll do that this weekend.Thank you so much for recommending Brandon Sanderson (the first time you did so). I ended up loving the trilogy.Please keep recommending your favorites and I’ll keep purchasing them. Until you pick a lemon, of course. :)

  18. Mainjari
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    Thank goodness I’m not the only one who cried at the end of Nation. The last chapter had me blubbering like a baby. Admittedly a really happy baby, but I’m just glad none of my roommates were around to witness such a spectacle. The book was wonderful. It made me want to hurry up and have kids so I could read it to them.

  19. Steven Weyerts
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    I’ve had this on my shelf for a few weeks now. I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. I got distracted by the Twilight series, and then I finished my fourth reading of NotW. Maybe I should read more of it. From what I’ve read so far, I’ve been a little disappointed.

  20. Arevanye
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

    What a coincidence! I just picked this book up and read the first chapter at lunch, then came home and saw your post. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

  21. Lucid Lunatic
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    I’ll grab it. Pratchett is my favorite author (sorry Pat), but somehow this book, not being Disworld, not being Johnny, etc. didn’t get me very excited (about buying it). I’ll pick it up asap now. Thanks.

  22. logankstewart
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 3:58 AM | Permalink

    that’s a lot of praise.

  23. Ben (sainttames)
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat, have you read the Warbreaker e-book by Brandon Sanderson?So far what I’ve read sorta makes me think of the Name of the Wind..

  24. Twin2
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

    Having found your other recommendations thus far to be great reads I’ll have to snatch this one up as well even though I’ve never read Pratchett before. I just finished <>The Blade Itself<>. All I can say is wow. Dark, gritty, and fantastic. I have <>Before They are Hanged<> and <>Hero of Ages<> waiting for me at the library. Decisions, decisions.

  25. pdxtrent
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

    The best cover I’ve seen is the Waterstones Limited edition while I was in London. Awesome. I loved the book, and reading Pratchett, even not at his best, is better than 99% of writers at their best. And for Capt Joe, I should point out he has a beard.[email protected], I don’t think you can atribute not liking the book to his disease, like the statistics on drowning and ice cream consumption, the connection is not always causuality.Word verification for today:stamar- The repeated use of the words “my friend Joe” during political debates.

  26. Anonymous
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    @brock cusicktry this site for an overview over the discworld bookshttp://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/

  27. Cusick
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    [email protected]:29 AM,Thanks!

  28. Priscilla
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    I spent two glorious days basking in the audio treatment at work, and I agree wholeheartedly. This book is superb.

  29. caranorn
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    @ pdxtrent You could be right. I was mostly shocked at some logic flaws in the book which are unusual for Pratchett. It wasn’t even that I didn’t like the book, like you said, ‘Pratchett, even not at his best, is better than 99% of writers at their best’… It’s a good book, just in my opinion short of Pratchett’s usual quality (and I don’t say that because it’s not diskworld).

  30. Anonymous
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    never been a Pratchett fan, not that anyone cares…still he’s a bit meh…i’d rather read a good Jim Butcher (Dresden Files).

  31. Anonymous
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    So true – I read it as an eBook in Shanghai, because I was desperate for anything English. I expected it to be another children’s book (nothing wrong with them, they just don’t *reach* me the same way as Pratchett’s usual fare). It was a long night, and I cried when I was finished. Best ever work of his.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted August 16, 2009 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    @caranorn – what logic flaws are you guys refering to? I thought it was brilliantly consistent…

  33. Anonymous
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    Its different. its wise. Its so sad an real but somehow simply full of happiness and miracles.
    I have one of those hardcovers with bookmarks in it, and its my second since i read the first one too often an it kinda self-destructed in the subway in Frankfurt^^

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